Kuku Chats is an online discussion event similar to Crazy Talks. The closure of our "in real life" meeting space made chatting the best option for now.

To protect participants from surveillance and tracking, we have set up our own internet server. This allows direct encryption between computers with no "man in the middle" allowed to decipher what we are saying. We then set up Jitsi video conferencing software (used by Edward Snowden) with audio and text as options for a truly private connection. And anonymous – no sign up or registration required.

Like in Crazy Talks, we don't require anyone to give their name at our events. Our private little system allows anyone with internet to get on the call, so use discretion and use each others' nicknames to protect everyone's privacy. If you don't like cameras or mics, just text and someone will announce your texts. The idea of Kuku Chats is to encourage each other to share the mic.


For best results:

Computers: You can use a Google Chrome browser for better video or download an open-source alternative, Brave. Jitsi now supports Safari (on a Mac). You can choose to allow access (or not) to your mic, camera, or both. Mute them on the call if you like. A Jitsi application is also available for computers, but not required. To join the call, just click on the link above during event times.

Handheld Devices like Samrtphones: Download a free Jitsi app for iOS 11 + or Android 5 + and others. ALWAYS click on the invite link above at the specified time to connect, rather than starting from the app. You will be asked to choose a browser or the app – choose the app (browsers don't support Jitsi).

Phone audio: Unfortunately we have not been able to add audio calls to the jitsi on our server. We will keep you informed when events go offline and people can meet in person.

Help: Email me (Erick) to prepare or troubleshoot if you have any difficulties. If you lose the conference call, retry the link.

Texting Only: Press the THIRD button from the bottom LEFT of the Jitsi window. A text bar should appear. Type something (emojis optional) and press “enter” to send.

Problems: Video or audio problems can be caused by high volume of people on, especially if they are streaming videos, moving the camera around, speaking fast, letting their mic pick up noise, which all adds to the data that must be streamed in real time. To help out, mute your mic unless speaking, keep camera still, turn down video resolution (by clicking on the three dot icon at the bottom right of your Jitsi screen, and from the pop up menu, at the top, click “manage video quality”, then select low quality).

Bullies: If you want to mute someone on the call, mouse over their image on the screen, find the three dots on the upper right of their image, click and choose “mute this person” from the pop up. If you want to message someone privately, mouse over the three dots on their image, click on “message privately”. Even though a moderator can klick someone off the call, MAYBE just muting the person and letting them vent will work for everyone. Hopefully people will accommodate difficulties like we do at Crazy Talks.

The Fun Stuff: Like a masquerade ball, you can give yourself a chat name. Click on the three dots at the bottom right of the Jitsi window. From the pop up menu, click the top selection, “Me,” and type in a profile name. ALSO from the pop up menu, you can select “share a Youtube video” or “blur your background”. On the left of the Jitsi window, second icon from the edge, there is a hand. When you press it your virtual hand is raised, letting people know you’d like to speak. At the left edge of the Jitsi window is an icon you can press for sharing what is on your computer screen with the group (useful for sharing a pic or website - don’t forget to cover personal stuff including your name).

For Your Inner Geek:

All other videoconferencing methods are owned by corporations with privacy or price issues. For example try searching "Zoom" and "privacy." However, when an application is free and independent it might crash easily. Jitsi software is the best of both worlds. It uses open code software, publicly reviewed and improved, to encrypt video, voice and text within a group. And Jitsi's quality often exceeds well-funded applications. Want to set up your own Jitsi conversation for free and with no sign up? Use Jitsi meet! One of our Crazy Talks participants who's also a tech expert showed us Jitsi when we lost our meeting space!

Our independent virtual server is a linode cloud based server (physically located in Toronto). No data is recorded on our private server, except connection logs that no one (including Linode) can see. These logs are automatically erased between events, so all video, audio and texts are gone. Jitsi is the only app installed on the server. Using SSL encryption (with SRTP and ZRTP) between your computer and the server, not even “end-to-end encryption” between your ISP and other ISPs is required for privacy. Direct encryption is possible using Jitsi's publicly lauded video encryption (see EFF's baseline scorecard, and Edward Snowden's Jitsi use). Thus, with no “man in the middle," we don't have to sign in and we can't be surveilled or tracked to the chat site (it has no tracking javascript). My tech expert brother helped me work this out, and Linode's rate is very inexpensive!

Summing Up:

A private encryption system keeps large companies and the surveillance state at bay. While high level intrusion on hacked devices, bugged computers and phone lines, is possible (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been known to tape over his camera while offline!) we can still protect ourselves from any likely intrusion by setting up our own secure channel with direct encryption.

Like Crazy Talks and Mad Stories, everyone is welcome to chat, including people who may not give a name or text us. Like in Crazy Talks, we should practice discretion, and possibly refrain from video or even audio, using text only. We can still communicate about important issues, thoughts, and feelings, shake off fear, and speak the unspeakable - like positive views of “madness” or negative views of “treatment”. Together we can be open without sacrificing our privacy.